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Centres and Peripheries in Celtic Linguistics

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Edited By Maria Bloch-Trojnar and Mark Ó Fionnáin

This book examines various aspects of Celtic linguistics from a general and more specific point of view. Amongst the topics investigated is the system of Irish initial mutations from both a linguistic universal and contrastive perspective. Other contributions analyse and cast new light on deverbal adjectives and assertive and declarative speech acts in Irish, communication and language transmission, change and policy, Breton and Sorbian grammars, as well as other issues of sociolinguistics in Irish, Welsh and Breton.

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The Role of Context and Common Ground in Utterance Meaning with Assertive and Declarative Speech Acts of Irish (Brian Nolan)

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Brian Nolan

The Role of Context and Common Ground in Utterance Meaning with Assertive and Declarative Speech Acts of Irish

Abstract: This chapter compares and contrasts the assertive speech act of Irish with the declarative speech act. We examine the constructional form of both the assertive and declarative of Irish to determine their constructional signatures. In the view argued for in this chapter, we consider the speech act as a construction whose meaning as an utterance depends on the framing situation and context, along with the common ground of the interlocutors. We identify how the assertive and declarative speech acts are formalised to characterise their utterance meaning, taking into account the contribution of situation, context and a dynamic common ground.

Context, along with belief, desire and intention, plays a significant role in what is meant as against what is said. The nature of knowledge, and how it informs common ground, is explored along with the relationship between knowledge and language. Determining the meaning of a speech act in a situation requires us to consider the level of the interaction of all these dimensions. An appropriate context is especially important as a core satisfaction condition of a felicitous declarative speech act while the construction and maintenance of a shared common ground is important for assertions. We show that the influence of the situation, context and common ground feeds into the utterance meaning in a principled way. The ‘what is said’ is reflected...

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